Walk Score Launches Maps for Major US Cities (GGDC)

Republished from David Alpert’s GreaterGreaterDC.org blog (original post):

Quick links to major metros: (Find by address)

Walk Score ranks 2,508 neighborhoods in the largest 40 U.S. cities to help you find a walkable place to live.

What makes a city walkable? See here for side-by-side comparisons. Methodology.

CityScoreMost Walkable Neighborhoods

1San Francisco86Chinatown, Financial District, Downtown

2New York83Tribeca, Little Italy, Soho

3Boston79Back Bay-Beacon Hill, South End, Fenway-Kenmore

4Chicago76Loop, Near North Side, Lincoln Park

5Philadelphia74City Center East, City Center West, Riverfront

6Seattle72Pioneer Square, Downtown, First Hill

7Washington D.C.70Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Downtown

8Long Beach69Downtown, Belmont Shore, Belmont Heights

9Los Angeles67Mid City West, Downtown, Hollywood

10Portland66Pearl District, Old Town-Chinatown, Downtown

11Denver66Lodo, Golden Triangle, Capitol Hill

12Baltimore65Federal Hill, Fells Point, Inner Harbor

13Milwaukee62Historic Third Ward, Lower East Side, Northpoint

14Cleveland60Downtown, Ohio City-West Side, Detroit Shoreway

15Louisville58Central Business District, Limerick, Phoenix Hill

16San Diego56Core, Horton Plaza, Cortez Hill

17San Jose55Buena Vista, Burbank, Rose Garden

18Las Vegas55Meadows Village, Downtown, Rancho Charleston

19Fresno54Central, Fresno-High, Hoover

20Sacramento54Richmond Grove, Downtown, Midtown

Begin republish of GGDC blog post:

Walk Score just launched walkability maps and rankings for the 40 largest U.S. cities. Washington, DC ranks 7th (between Seattle and… Long Beach?!?!) Baltimore is #12.

Dupont Circle, our highest scoring neighborhood, is 17th among all neighborhoods, though 12 of the higher ranking ones are all in Manhattan (the others are San Francisco’s Financial District and Chinatown, Portland’s streetcar-developed Pearl District, and Old Westport, Kansas City. Ten DC neighborhoods break a 90 and win the label “walkers’ paradises”: Dupont, Logan, Downtown, U Street, Foggy Bottom, Mt. Vernon Square, Adams Morgan, Kalorama, Friendship Heights, and Georgetown.

The map shows what we intuitively know: the row house part of the city is very walkable. To a lesser extent, so are the main retail concentrations elsewhere, like Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenues, Takoma, and Brookland. We don’t do better in the overall rankings (just above Long Beach and Los Angeles) because of large swaths of unwalkability around the perimeter of the city, especially in Northeast and east of the river.

walk score dc

The algorithm still is far from perfect, but it does a pretty good job of quantifying what areas are more or less walkable. I’d quibble with the neighborhood breakdowns, especially outside the center; they label Crestwood and 16th Street Heights as “Petworth”, and Petworth (plus Park View and others) are lumped in with CUA-Brookland. Likewise, the area labeled Takoma Park is west of Georgia Avenue, making it more Shepherd Park, with the actual Takoma area in Fort Totten-Upper Northeast. And the entire area east of the river, except Deanwood, is “Anacostia”.

Getting decent neighborhood boundaries is remarkably difficult, as there are no official lists of neighborhoods (except in a few cities, like Chicago). I tried once in a pervious job, when building a service to find restaurants over the phone. We wanted to let users say a neighborhood, but it was nearly impossible to get a decent list of neighborhoods for even major cities nationwide.

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5 Responses to “Walk Score Launches Maps for Major US Cities (GGDC)”

  1. Laura says:

    Yes, walk score is real a good idea! But why only walk score?How often do we walk nowadays? More and more people drive cars.I have also tried one more service at http://drivescore.fizber.com/. It is called Drive Score.With the help of it you can see how close establishments are by car. Try! It’s really a perfect idea!

  2. Melissa says:

    Somewhat laughable – the #2 place in Portland, Old Town/Chinatown, is full of homeless street people, drugs dealers and addicts, and boarded up empty buildings. On the other hand there are many neighborhoods low down on the list that are wonderful little gems where you’ll find everything you need to support your family within walking or biking distance. My own neighborhood, which we pretty much never leave on weekends, barely made the top 20!

  3. nathaniel says:

    Their map of DC rings true for me. The WalkScore algorithm favors street density over neighborhood shopping amenities and I don’t think even begins to factor in crime, another huge quality of life issue. Nor does it capture the vibe or cachet of a neighborhood. But I think it is good tool to look at in conjunction with other indexes that track those issues when picking a new place to live.

  4. nathaniel says:

    It seems the DriveScore mentioned by Laura doesn’t even begin to capture non-chain stores and food joints. Makes my neighborhood look abject when there are gems to be found!

  5. […] and then pushed out as a Google Maps mashup. WalkScore was previously featured here for their “walkability” maps which both help people figure out where to […]